When it comes to what brings patients into our Grosse Pointe dental office for oral surgery, it’s not always about the pain. A tooth abscess is often the first sign of a tooth infection or fracture. A tooth abscess may also cause a sinus infection or headaches, which are also key indicators that you may need a tooth extraction or root canal.
If you have an abscess on your gums, you should seek dental treatment as soon as possible. Abscesses will eventually lead to tooth and gum pain, as well as sinus infections. Further, studies have shown that drainage from the sore may contribute to heart disease.
Following are several things you should know about tooth abscesses and their relationship to sinus infections.
What is a Dental Abscess?
A tooth abscess is a bubble of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection. It may be located at the root of the tooth or on the gums near the affected tooth. It is usually due to an untreated cavity or injury.
In some cases, Dr. Holtzman can treat the issue with a root canal or other procedures, but at other times, such as in the case of a fracture, a dental extraction may be necessary.
The abscess may burst on its own, providing some temporary relief, but eventually it will return. If this cycle continues for too long, it may lead to various health complications. Bacterial infections in your mouth may lead to infections in your blood stream, endanger your bone health, and eventually put your heart at risk. The fluid found in the abscesses has been linked with harmful buildup in the arteries.
Can a Tooth Abscess Cause a Sinus Infection?
A tooth abscess may cause a sinus infection, as can almost any type of bacterial infection in your upper teeth.
In fact, there’s a name for this type of sinus problem: maxillary sinusitis of endodontic origin. The maxillary sinus is located behind the cheekbones close to the roots of the upper back teeth. Therefore an infection in the upper teeth can spread to the maxillary sinus rather easily. Symptoms of this type of sinus infection include post nasal drip and sinus congestion.
Tooth Infection Treatment
Antibiotics may provide temporary relief, but eventually the tooth must be treated to resolve the sinus problems and prevent further risks to your overall health.
Ironically, many patients don’t feel pain in this situation because the affected tooth may have already had a root canal in the past. The patient may even have this infection or fracture for years before abscesses form.
This is just another reminder about how important it is to see Dr. Holtzman twice a year for dental checkups. We can take X-rays and analyze your teeth more completely to identify sources of concern that you might not notice.
Treatments for teeth that are causing the abscesses depend on the source of the problem. If an extraction is the solution, remember that we can also replace this tooth with dental implants or a dental bridge in the future.
If any of this sounds like what you have been experiencing, make an appointment today to see our dentist in Grosse Pointe. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (313) 379-5726.